Finding chords for a melody

with industry Pro, Nick Batzdorf

Moderators: admin, mdc, TAXIstaff

User avatar
gabgar
Getting Busy
Getting Busy
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:50 am
Gender: Male
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Finding chords for a melody

Post by gabgar » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:06 am

This is how I experiment with finding chords for a melody that I created.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/x-pTHiRxQNA

A melody can also be a bass line as well.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/W3e3x2dJJaY

Keyword here is Chord Formulas but not just for Major/Minor scales but for any scale/key.

User avatar
cosmicdolphin
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1208
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:46 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Finding chords for a melody

Post by cosmicdolphin » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:09 am

Wow...Seems unnecessarlily complicated to me ..I just play some chords..then play a melody over the top..each to their own I guess !

Mark

User avatar
gabgar
Getting Busy
Getting Busy
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:50 am
Gender: Male
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Finding chords for a melody

Post by gabgar » Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:12 pm

cosmicdolphin wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:09 am
Wow...Seems unnecessarlily complicated to me ..I just play some chords..then play a melody over the top..each to their own I guess !

Mark
Huh?
That's a real head scratcher there.

gregorym
Getting Busy
Getting Busy
Posts: 115
Joined: Wed May 15, 2019 4:35 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Finding chords for a melody

Post by gregorym » Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:38 pm

Interesting process. Going through a process is important. I didn't get through the whole video, but I think I get the gist. Cool.

User avatar
ttully
Committed Musician
Committed Musician
Posts: 742
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:42 am
Contact:

Re: Finding chords for a melody

Post by ttully » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:30 am

Yes...I do the same as Mark (CosmicDolphin).

Tim

User avatar
gabgar
Getting Busy
Getting Busy
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:50 am
Gender: Male
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Finding chords for a melody

Post by gabgar » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:46 pm

Layering chord progressions with different scale/keys.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/U5mPIfFRYH0

User avatar
Mark Kaufman
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1930
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:03 am
Gender: Male
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: Finding chords for a melody

Post by Mark Kaufman » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:46 pm

Fascinating how we all approach things.

When I compose music, I rarely write a melody without also sensing and basically "hearing" the chordal context surrounding it—in fact, it's kind of difficult for me to do—my brain just fills in the blanks instantly with one chord or another. So I have never been in a situation in which my melody was in search of the right chords.

User avatar
gabgar
Getting Busy
Getting Busy
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:50 am
Gender: Male
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Finding chords for a melody

Post by gabgar » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:57 pm

In this video here
remix-competition-remix-this-192-t143442.html

I did an audio-to-midi to get the melody from the vocal that I used, then I applied chords at every beat to the note she hit at the beginning of each beat.

User avatar
cosmicdolphin
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1208
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:46 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Finding chords for a melody

Post by cosmicdolphin » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:27 am

Mark Kaufman wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:46 pm
I rarely write a melody without also sensing and basically "hearing" the chordal context surrounding it—in fact, it's kind of difficult for me to do—my brain just fills in the blanks instantly with one chord or another. So I have never been in a situation in which my melody was in search of the right chords.
Glad it's not just me ! :D

User avatar
andygabrys
Total Pro
Total Pro
Posts: 5426
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:09 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Summerland, BC by way of Santa Fe, Chilliwack, Boston, NYC
Contact:

Re: Finding chords for a melody

Post by andygabrys » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:30 pm

gabgar wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:06 am
This is how I experiment with finding chords for a melody that I created.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/x-pTHiRxQNA

A melody can also be a bass line as well.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/W3e3x2dJJaY

Keyword here is Chord Formulas but not just for Major/Minor scales but for any scale/key.
Interesting.

I hear chord progressions very easily in existing melodies. Part of it is applied knowledge of book stuff - chord scales from minor major and modal keys.

The point of this point is not to say that what you did is wrong or incorrect, and some amounts of dissonance in music is desirable - its a device to be freely used. Anyways......

As the melodies get more complicated - its harder and harder to give a free reharmonization as the melodies themselves spell out various chords.

Example - Pachelbel's Canon in D. The melody spells out strong chord tones straight off, and as each layer is added, the harmonization becomes more and more locked.

e.g. https://youtu.be/stCKjZniMsQ?t=15 here only listen to the bass motion and the violin melody. Discard the pizzicato plus that arpeggiate the chords. It would be very difficult to reharmonize the song based on those existing parts.

Its the same thing with your piece in your first video. Assuming key of Db Major. This list is what is easily heard based on the melody alone.

Bar 1 - Db
Bar 2 - Gb
Bar 3 - Db
Bar 4 - Ab
Bar 5 - F min
Bar 6 - Bb min
Bar 7 - Ab
Bar 8 - Bb MIN
Bar 9 - Ab
Bar 10 - Db
Bar 11 - Gb
Bar 12- Ab
Bar 13 - Gb
Bar 14 -Ab
Bar 15 - Eb min
Bar 16 - Ab

The fact that you came up with a different harmonization was based on some arbitrary rules - like if I understand correctly - you took the first note in every bar to be a chord tone - which ignores that fact that in a lot of bars the melody employs a passing tone to get to a chord tone and that passing tone.

The strict musical definition of whether its an accented passing tone etc doesn't really matter - I am calling a non-chord tone a passing tone here.

Bar 5 is one good example - The melody plays an arpeggiated F minor triad but your harmonization Plays an Ab chord. Is it it wrong if you assume pan-diatonic / pan-tonal thinking? No of course not. The chords and melody come from the same scale. Its like playing Vsus over the V chord or ii over the V chord. It could work.

But does it sound plausible? Is it the smoothest and most obvious reharmonization? Would it fool a lay listener? Would it fool an edjucated listener?

How about bar 10? The melody clearly spells out a Db Major Chord (I) but the harmony stays on the Ab chord (V). That one is more of a stretch for me - you broke a steady harmonic rhythm where you were changing chords once every bar, and you played the "avoid" notes as strongly accented melody notes. The harmony is Ab (Ab, D, Eb), and the Db Melody note will either be heard as a Major 7th or b9 interval against the C (3rd of Ab) note.

That's a crunchy sound right there. Which is going to make most people's ears perk up. Is it right or is it wrong? Does it work?

I think what the other respondants said about doing things by ear is important - you keep moving through your choices until you reach something that fits. Even if you start with a theoretical basis for something, you can still qualify if it works by ear.

there is lots of music where the harmonies are rich and.......modern for lack of a better word, but I think while the methods might employ formulae or "chance" combinations, everything is always qualified by ear. If it doesn't sound smooth then something else is chosen. Some examples would be Michael Brecker's "Pilgrimage" https://youtu.be/JjghmN_-j-g?t=171 or a lot of Snarky Puppy albums.

In Pilgrimage - thats a lot of chords, and the melody is more sparse so that it can work together. In almost all cases the melody notes can work one chord forward and one backward - so there is some commonality, a thread of continuity although the harmony is usually moving in non-diatonic fashion.

Thinking out loud here :)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest